By: Ellaine Kryss Hubilla
A virtual press conference was conducted titled #WalangPlastikan: An honest conversation on plastic packaging in the Philippines’ food industry, organized and presented by Eco-Business Philippines and supported by Mondelez International.
In the said press conference, Crispian Lao, the founding president of the Philippines Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability, tackled the possible impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the solid waste management system of the country.
During this crisis, Lao explained that there was a shift in consumption patterns. People prefered door-to-door deliveries, which results in more packaging wastes, particularly for the food industry. Moreover, there are anticipations that there will be more packaging wastes from households and less from commercial establishments.
There will also be an extreme increase in medical and health care waste which requires proper disinfection before disposal. This effect will intensify the problem of the lack of disposal facilities in the country. Thus, Lao added that due to this pandemic, they are expecting a new category of waste which is infectious.
Fortunately, there are some solutions that can lessen the impact of the crisis. By sourcing products locally, we can all help in rebuilding the country’s economy. We can also refrain from using plastic packaging if necessary and choose products with less plastic packaging or with no packaging at all. In the future, products can be designed in such a way to cope with the new status of the country. Moreover, Lao emphasizes maximizing reusing, recovery, recycling, as this will conserve resources and energy for possible future use.
The panel members of the said conference were Undersecretary Benny Antiporda from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Edwin Seah, Head of Sustainability and Communication for Food Industry Asia, Crispian Lao, Founding President of Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability, Toff Rada, Corporate and Government Affairs Country Manager from Mondelez International, and Francois Lesage, Co-Founder and President of The Plastic Flamingo.
Each panelist presented topics that concern the issues of plastic packaging in the country such as how the government and business sectors can join together to solve plastic problems, an overview of plastic packaging used in the food industry, challenges that waste management sector may face during the COVID-19 pandemic, social responsibilities of food businesses in creating a sustainable model for plastic use, and others.
From a virtual press conference titled #WalangPlastikan: An honest conversation on plastic packaging in the Philippines’ food industry